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Lexical sensitivity in negative polarity verbs

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Abstract

Four classes of negative polarity verbs in German (besides NPI-modals) are distinguished by their semantic and syntactic properties: abstentives, attractives, privatives and ±care-verbs. Relevant factors identified are factivity and counterfactivity, generalized implicature as a lexical process, and litotes. Abstentives and attractives are semantic mirror-images of one another, and share with ±care-verbs the import of a conveyed affective attitude. An attempt is made at elucidating the semantic mechanism by which it is the modal of possibility that comes to cluster together with verbal NPI-phrases.

References

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